Our office recently defended a client who was charged with Criminal Sexual Contact under 2C:14-3, a 4th degree indictable crime. Our client had allegedly groped a female passenger on a public bus as she slept next to him. The complaint alleged that the woman woke up in the middle of the defendant molesting her breasts and crouch. Witnesses, who included the bus driver, locked the defendant on the bus until the police could come.
Our client was adamant that the incident did not happen the way the charges alleged and would not plead guilty to the felony charge. To complicate things further our client was not a U.S. citizen and here on a work visa, so a felony conviction could result his deportation from the country. In order to avoid a felony conviction, we applied our client for Pre-Trial Intervention but the County Prosecutor’s Office denied his admission based on the nature of the crime and the victim’s strong opposition against it. We then began to challenge that state’s evidence against our client in preparation of future litigation down the line. Based on the issues our attorneys were able to raise, the prosecutor agreed to downgrade the fourth degree felony Criminal Sexual Contact to a petty disorderly persons offense of Disorderly Conduct with no probation or incarceration. Our client consulted with an immigration attorney and felt confident that the downgraded charge would not affect his immigration. In the end, our client was able to walk out of court with no felony convictions and only paying a few hundred in fines.
State v. A.K. decided on May 10, 2017